Spain has reached the finals of the European Championship after defeating Portugal in the semi-finals of the competition via penalties. But, the match failed to live up to the expectations.
Portugal must also thank their goalie, Rui Patrício for making some crucial saves during the finishing moments of the normal time. Though, the Spanish goalie and skipper, Iker Casillas, did not have much to do apart from making regular saves. The goalies became the focal point during the penalties, as the first penalty kick was stopped by Patricio and the following penalty was also stopped by Casillas, which brought the teams on equal terms. But, Bruno Alves of Portugal missed the penalty, which put Spain in the front. So, it was game for Spain, when Fabregas scored the penalty kick.
The game between the two sides did not reach the high standards in terms of pace and attacks as was being expected from fans across the world
- including India, where many remained awake till midnight to witness what was being pegged as the meeting of two European footballing giants. Neither Spain nor Portugal looked good to walk away with the match. Both the teams showed flashes of brilliance, but they were not consistent during the game. Though, much was expected from players such as Xavi, Iniesta, Nani, and Ronaldo. It was only later during the second half of extra time that the game increased its tempo, but it was too late for either of the teams to find the back of the net.
It was heartbreak for Portugal, who had been playing consistent football throughout the tournament. They had come out of a tough group and looked confident to go all the way. But their main player, C. Ronaldo could not show his class for which he is known in the football world. He received some chances to score via his trademark free kick, but still it was not a day for Portugal.
Spain has reached the finals, but if they are to win the competition, they need to play better than the way they played in the semi-finals. Playing against both Germans or Italians will be tough. The German team is playing as a well-oiled machine. The midfielders are combining well with forwards, and the Germans, like almost always, have an advantage in terms of height and physical fitness. Spain will be far from a walkover, as their maze of midfielders and defenders will nip all budding attacks in the bud. Frustration could lead to holes in defence, which the Spanish will take advantage of through pinpoint passing. Above all, Spain will have to be doubly careful as scoring a goal against Germany almost never seals the deal. The powerful Germans are even more dangerous when they are down a goal and hurting.
The Italians, who have always relied on a strong defense, will bring the same strenghts to the field, if they make it to the finals. Spain will meet their match in when it comes to passing if they play Italy, who are also a team who don't lose heart if they are a goal down.